Gary LaPow is one of many children's singer-songwriters who made the successful transition from a folk audience to a pop-oriented children's audience. For two decades, under his own Springboard label, Lapow steadily produced up-to-date children's material for the preschool to elementary audience.
LaPow was born in Brooklyn in 1943. As a college student at Brooklyn College, LaPow would often join in a jug band in Washington Square Park. After college, LaPow became the guitarist for the Freedom Singers, and then the accompanist for Malvina Reynolds. In 1982, LaPow released his first solo album, Tell It From the Heart . But he soon got requests for children's music, and LaPow began to perform at children's parties and schools. In 1984, LaPow self-produced and distributed his first album of children's music, Sing a Silly Song. The album contained many original, goofy tunes, such as the title cut and "I Can't Sleep."
The successful album was quickly followed in 1985 by Supermarket Shuffle, perhaps LaPow's most popular album. The title cut tells of the pandemonium that happens after the doors close at a grocery store. "The cabbage did a flip when the onions saw, they jumbled all together in a cool cole slaw... Supermarket shuffle, it's quite informal, you get there in the morning and it all looks normal."
Five other albums followed in the late '80s, including I Like Noodles and Diddy Bop Dinosaurs, both honored by Parent's Choice. LaPow also broke into video, as a featured artist on the Disney Channel's Kaleidoscope Concert series. In 1996, LaPow released Strong, Smart, and Free, a more topically oriented album than his others. The songs addressed the needs of older children, and included messages such as "A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." and the anti-drug "Say No, No, No."